RICHMOND — The Wizards a little while ago wrapped up their final practice of training camp, and are a little more than 24 hours away from playing their first preseason game when they host the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow night.
It comes as a welcome to the players, who after a week of going against one another so hard are ready to see some different faces opposite them.
“After going against each other, banging against each other, playing against each other, it’s going to be fun,” Mike Miller said. “And it’s a step closer to the regular season.”
Flip Saunders said he’s no closer to deterimining who will start at shooting guard. Miller and DeShawn Stevenson got the bulk of the minutes with starters Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood in today’s practice. But Saunders said said that didn’t mean his mind is made up that it’s one or the other. He also said that just because he goes with one player doesn’t mean that person will be the opening game starter.
Saunders joked, “We might do it rock, paper, scissors to decide it.”
As tomorrow night goes, Saunders mentioned that he might take into account that Allen Iverson will be coming off the bench for Memphis and choose to bring Stevenson, “your better defender,” off the bench to matchup with him.
Saunders again said that his players “are making it hard” for him to settle on a rotation. Fabricio Oberto went through a full practice and scrimmage today, but it’s not known if he’ll go tomorrow. The coaches will meet, Saunders said, and decide what players will play and who he’ll give the night off.
One aspect that is in the process of being sorted out, however, is the matter of Miller wearing LeBron James’ signature shoe. If you remember when asked about it on media day last week, Miller was unaware that he would spark a controversy. He has now heard from his teammates, however, that he must make a change.
“We already talked about that. Gotta get ‘em outta here,” Stevenson said emphatically today. “We already had a discussion about that. Me, Twan, and Caron told him about them LeBron shoes. We’re off that. So he’ll get it switched. I told him we already got war against them, and we play them, what, the third, fourth game? See he can’t do that. It’s beef right there.”
Stevenson went off laughing, and a short time later Miller came out and after fielding questions about the starting shooting guard spot, and the rotation, and his adjustment to the Wizards, he was asked about his shoe situation.
“They’ve been on me,” Miller said after having a good laugh. “I told them when you’re unathletic and white like me, you’ve gotta have the lightest shoe out there.
“I told them it’s my first time with Nike and they feel good on my feet, so I’m trying to get used to them,” Miller continued. “I told them ‘No disrespect. I didn’t know you guys hated each other like that.’ I was Adidas since I was s sophomore in high school. Believe me, they’ve been on me. It’s been on Front Street in that locker room. I told them no disrespect.
When asked if Butler had offered him a pair of his Nikes, Miller said, “That’s what I might have to go to. If they’re light enough, and they fit my feet right. I’ll go out there in Chuck Taylors if they don’t hurt my feet.”
— Mike Jones